Things almost turned out very differently for the New York Jets in the 2019 NFL draft.
Gang Green selected Quinnen Williams with the No. 3 overall pick in the first round. However former Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock revealed that he attempted to trade up to select the former Alabama stud.
“The coaching staff really wanted a defensive lineman and we were picking No. 4 that year in 2019,” Mayock explained on the Green Light Podcast posted on Thursday, April 27. “I knew the first three picks were going to be Kyler Murray [No.] 1, [Nick] Bosa [No.] 2 to San Francisco, and Quinnen Williams [No.] 3 to the Jets. We tried to move up to [No.] 2 and didn’t get him. We tried to move up to [No.] 3 to get Quinnen Williams, but the Jets said no.”
Mayock was unable to make either of those trades and instead selected Clelin Ferrell out of Clemson with the No. 4 overall pick.
Jets Were Open for Trade Business in the 2019 NFL Draft
NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano of SNY revealed that the Jets “were determined” to trade down in the first round of that draft “according to multiple NFL sources.”
“They seem to really, really want to move down,” said one NFL executive told Vacchiano via SNY. “Maybe they’re just keeping their options open, but it sure seems like that No. 3 pick is for sale.”
Connor Hughes revealed even more intimate details as we got closer to the draft saying there was “dialogue between Jets and Bills about [a] potential trade.” The belief, according to Hughes, is Buffalo was going to move up for “Quinnen Williams.”
NFL Insider Jason La Canfora said two NFL general managers also told him about the Bills’ interest in Q and conversely the Jets’ interest in trading down in that class.
Rich Cimini of ESPN even went as far as to say that “one team [was] already under the impression the Jets [had] a deal worked out with another team if Q [was] available at [No.] 3.”
All of these bits of information seem to add credence to Mayock’s claims that he tried trading up with the Jets on draft day to pull off a blockbuster deal.
Despite all that buzz however the Jets stayed at No. 3 and ended up taking Williams themselves.
Quinnen Williams Got off to Slow Start With Jets but Has Turned It Around
When you take a player with the No. 3 overall pick in the first round, people expect big things.
During Q’s rookie season with the Jets, he only finished with 2.5 sacks and only played in 13 games.
NFL Network Analyst Bucky Brooks claimed that Williams had “clearly been a major disappointment for the Jets” on October 28 of 2020. He even suggested that the Jets may have “missed on a flasher with traits and a brief resume.”
Instead, it simply seemed that Williams was a late bloomer. Last season the former first-rounder exploded on the scene with a career season in every major defensive category.
He secured 12 sacks, 28 quarterback hits, 12 tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles. Williams also earned a first-team All-Pro nomination and was invited to the Pro Bowl.
Mayock’s trade story from the past is just a constant reminder of how thin the line is in big-time conversations in NFL front offices. Gang Green seemed hellbent on trading back in the first and if they would have succeeded in those efforts who knows where they would be right now?
Instead, Williams is set to become the highest-paid player in Jets franchise history this offseason after he receives his new extension.